Alex De Minaur’s Australian Open journey is over after suffering a gut-wrenching defeat in the fourth round of the Melbourne Grand Slam.
The 24-year-old Aussie went down to World Number 5 Andrey Rublev in a five-set epic spanning more than four hours on Sunday night.
The Demon led Rublev two sets to one on Rod Laver Arena before the Russian stormed home to win 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-0.
The defeat, which is the third consecutive year De Minaur has bowed out in the fourth round, means he will lose his career-high top-ten ranking.
De Minaur admits it was his serve that let him down.
“I just was not finding first serves,” De Minaur said post-match.
“In those crucial moments, I was giving him too many second serves and he was able to just swing freely.
Our last remaining Aussie hope conceded the loss was a bitter pill to swallow, having only recently defeated three top-10 players including Novak Djokovic.
“Maybe a couple of years ago, or even last year, I would be sitting here saying, I probably shouldn’t have won, he’s higher ranked than I am, I took him to five sets, pretty decent effort,” de Minaur said.
“But it’s completely changed because now I’m sitting here and I’m absolutely devastated because I saw it as a great opportunity and a match that I strongly believed I could have won, but it just slipped away.”
Rublev will now take on Italian fourth seed Jannik Sinner in the quarterfinals.